I came across this quiz to determine your “crunch” factor the other day. Turns out, I fall under the “Mmm! Love that whole-grain crunch!” category. I’ve never considered myself particularly crunchy, but love that I am. I must admit that since my first pregnancy, I have become more and more careful about what I put in and on my body, my children’s bodies, and our living space.
In honor of upcoming Earth Day, here are 5 simple ways to make your life a little greener & crunchier.
Cloth – cloth diapers and wipes for the kiddos. Mama cloth (reusable menstrual pads) for the mamas. I love them both. There are so many online and brick and mortar stores offering cloth, the choices are endless. There are also cloth diaper services available in most larger cities. Once you make the commitment, you’ll never go back. It takes a little trial and error, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy and even fun. Plus, cloth diapers require eco friendly laundry detergents that you just might start using for all your clothes, a nice bonus.
Nontoxic Cleaners – there are so many nontoxic brands of cleaners you can buy, you’re bound to find one you like. Real Simple magazine highlighted the best cleaning products in an article this month, many of which are non-toxic. You can make your own green cleaning products – pinterest and other places are a great way to find recipes. Oftentimes, going green can save you money and the products are just as good if not better than their toxic counterparts. And, you can feel better about surrounding your family with less chemicals and leaving less chemicals in our landfills.
CSA or Farmer’s Market – community supported agriculture (CSA) and farmer’s markets are great alternatives to grocery stores. I’ve noticed that the produce seems to be going downhill while the prices are going uphill at the grocery stores lately. CSAs and farmers markets give you fresh produce for less cost. It’s usually organically grown and doesn’t have to travel so far, so it’s fresher by the time it hits your kitchen. This is great if you have a baby too, the less chemicals in those first bites, the better. One more fun way to eat fresh – grow your own! My daughter and I planted spinach, baby carrots and strawberries in container gardens on our deck last summer. It was fun, easy & delicious!
Green Beauty – from shampoos and soaps to lotions and make-up, women put a lot on their skin. I’ve been moving steadily greener and greener with my beauty product choices for the past 10 years. Aveda and Origins are big companies that offer make-up and skin care products with a natural slant. Burt’s Bees, Neutrogena Naturals, Apivita and Reviva are also on my beauty shelf. Next time you run out of a product, try a more natural version. Your skin will thank you.
Recycle – recycling all your plastics, cans, glass and paper is a no brainer. But you can think of creative ways to reuse/recycle things as well. I’ve recently decided to use brown paper bags for gift wrap – my daughter has a blast painting, coloring or adding stickers to decorate the gifts. It saves money, looks cool and provides a fun activity for little hands. Cardboard boxes can provide endless fun for an imaginative child. And you could use old magazines, tissue-type packaging and cards for fun crafts as well. There are so many ideas on the web for fun, eco-friendly crafts you can do with your kids with old stuff you have lying around.
If you’d love to live a greener, crunchier life, but are overwhelmed with all the options, don’t fret. Simply try one thing at a time and see how it goes. And don’t feel guilty if you decide to cloth diaper, but still use a disposable from time to time. Or if you find a great all purpose green cleaner, but don’t want to give up a bathroom cleaner that you love. The point is to take little steps at a time because even little choices can make a big difference for you, your family and the planet. And, guilt is overrated – so, focus on the positive and you might end up getting crunchier as the years go by.
I got extra crunchy points for co-sleeping, babywearing, breastfeeding over a year, and making some homemade baby foods. If I can do it, you can too! In honor of Earth Day, make a pledge to yourself to get a little more crunchy! Good luck and have fun!
Some local resources (not all inclusive, but some of my faves): Peapods, Do Good Diapers, Creative Kidstuff, Garden of Eden, Party in my Pants, Golden Fig, The Bistro Farm